Today was another basic day, but for some reason the Art I classes have seemed much more rowdy than they ‘ve been in the past. Today during 5th Period, we especially had an issue.
5th Period is always the hardest class to control. It’s the largest class with close to 40 students and has a large group of Special Needs students that come in each day. Because the group of Special Needs students is so large at about 10 students, it often feels like my cooperating teacher and I are trying to teach two different classes. With so many students, it’s hard to move about the classroom with every desk filled and backpacks and belongings all about the floor. The students tend to sit wherever they like, sometimes in the aisle, sometimes 4 to one desk, sometimes not facing the front of the classroom, and it makes it even more difficult to control. This class is way too chaotic for my tastes and because it’s Art I and the students are less mature, responsible, and experienced as the more advanced classes, it’s even more difficult.There’s a large group of boys who sit in the back corner of the classroom that are often loud, off-task, and difficult to handle, but today they were especially troublesome.
My cooperating teacher and I were trying to cater to the Special Needs students and the rest of the class. Because the Special Needs students complete their assignments so quickly, we struggle to keep up with them and give them something beneficial to do. When one of us was working with the Special Needs students, the other would be working with the rest of the class. At one point, however, my cooperating teacher asked me to monitor the group of boys in the back while she worked with the Special Needs group. The students were rowdy as always as they were moving about the room, talking incredibly loudly to each other, leaning on the chairs, and messing with each other. I kept having to tell one student over and over to stop leaning and bending on the chair as the chairs have recently been purchased and are brand new. Every time I told him to stop, he would, then resume just a few seconds later.
Shortly afterwards, another student picked up a chair and tried to bring it to a desk. Because of the clutter and small space, he was hitting the chair against desks and stepping on backpacks. He made a big ruckus before he finally sat down. Suddenly, my cooperating teacher snapped and started yelling at the students. I’ve never seen her do this before as she was livid with the students. She yelled at them to sit down, stay silent, and get to work. She said they were disruptive and unruly and needed to control themselves.
One of the Special Needs students’ assistants then told my teacher that she was the coach’s wife and that many of the boys in that group were athletes.
“You should contact the coach about them and tell him about their behavior,” she explained to my teacher.
My teacher agreed and then told the boys about her plan.
Class ended and my teacher swiftly sent the coach an email about the troublesome students. She immediately received a reply from the coach stating that he would address the boys and that my teacher should keep the coach up-to-date on their behavior. He said that he would be happy to keep them well-behaved.
I felt uneasy about this experience because I feel that I didn’t handle the students well enough. Because I was unable to keep the students managed when my teacher asked me to, she had to pull herself away from the Special Needs group to yell at them. I feel that I’m not yet comfortable with classroom management and addressing misbehaving students. I need to build my confidence and find ways to better manage students and their behavior. I felt too flustered and confused with their activities and wasn’t sure what to do at the time. I stood by the group, kept close proximity with them, kept reminding them to get to work, and would tell them to stop doing incorrect behaviors, but it wasn’t enough. Hopefully when I have my own classroom I’ll be better able to keep it under control.
I’m hoping that the email to the coach will help control this class because even my cooperating teacher feels that it’s out of control and hard to handle. With the Special Needs group in this class, it makes it even harder to be aware of the class’s behavior and to be able to address everything. Also, the class is so crowded, it can be hard to notice what’s going on and hard to position yourself to a place in which you can better take control of a situation. I feel that the classroom needs to be rearranged, especially in that tight back corner where the large group of male students sit. I also feel like my cooperating teacher should have a strict seating chart and should move students away from each other if they can’t work productively next to each other. It’s apparent that 5th Period is the hardest class to control and it’s starting to wear on me where I come to dread it each day. I hope that we will find a way to manage it successfully.